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End of summer social celebrates co-op students and employers
Okanagan College Media Release

Coop Student of the Year 2019For fourth-year Okanagan College student Connor McCormack, the past eight months spent at accounting firm MNP have affirmed his career choice in more ways than one. So much so that his time in the downtown Kelowna office earned him Okanagan College’s Co-op Student of the Year award recently.

MNP, known for its accounting and business consulting, took McCormack on as a co-op student earlier this year. As part of his Bachelor of Business Administration degree, he opted for a semester of applied learning with the goal of gaining tangible experience in his field. Time spent at MNP meant he could expand his skills and learn more about the industry.

“My co-op experience 100 per cent confirmed that accounting is for me,” he says. “Not only did it solidify the career choices I’m planning to make, but it also gave me valuable insight into the lifestyle and what to expect from the work life balance and routine.”

McCormack was one of many students and employers celebrated at the End of Summer Social, put on by the Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre. Employer of the Year was awarded to the Regional District of the North Okanagan (RDNO).

Both the Student of the Year and Employer of the Year recipients are elected: students nominate their employer and employers nominate students. The basis for nomination consists of those who have gone above and beyond, done outstanding work in their field and fueled a successful and welcoming environment.

Working at MNP, McCormack faced a steep learning curve, but quickly applied a methodical approach to his work. With a foundation of knowledge from classes in financial accounting, management and marketing taken at the College, he gained ground quickly. He learned the ins and outs of corporate files, tax returns, and letter drafting for clients all while being coached by MNP’s on-site performance coaches.

Winning the award came as a “bit of a shock,” says Connor.

“It means a lot to me to win this award. It instills a lot of confidence in my abilities that my efforts were recognized.”

Faye Craven, MNP’s Human Capital Coordinator says that “Connor exceeded all expectations with outstanding performance both technically and in soft skills.”

RDNO has employed Okanagan College students for many years and consistently delivers a supportive environment to explore and address environmental issues that relate to their career aspirations.Coop Employer of the Year 2019

“We value our partnership with Okanagan College,” says Stephen Banmen, RDNO’s General Manager of Finance. “We have subsequently hired a number of our co-op students based on their performance, work ethic and quality education and will continue to do so in the future.”

For students, co-op presents them with a unique opportunity to step outside the classroom and experience work from a relevant perspective. For employers, the gain can be exponential in training young employees, bringing fresh insight to a workplace and potentially hiring students once their term is over.

Co-op at Okanagan College is a mandatory part of the Food, Wine and Tourism programs, including the current Culinary Arts and Pastry Arts programs as well as the new Tourism Management Diploma program. It is optional for all other eligible programs, however, the Okanagan School of Business and Technology departments have the greatest number of participants. Since 2014, 531 students have successfully completed 929 co-op terms, with a near 100 per cent completion rate.
 

“We hope this event showed the value of taking part in a co-op, and that the time spent in a work-integrated learning environment is invaluable,” says Alison Beaumont of the College’s Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment office.

“These partnerships enable our students to enhance their education in ways that complement their time in the classroom. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

 

OC Speaker Series explores wild and wonderful facts of the world and beyond
Okanagan College Media Release

What does Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked the First World War, have to do with the Okanagan?Franz Ferdinand Aug 2019

Why does the Milky Way have a spiral structure?

What does psychology teach us we should say to a friend in need?

The answers to these questions and more are only a free lecture away, at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus.

The OC Speaker Series returns this September, with a lineup of experts and authorities who will offer free presentations on a variety of topics, from the arts, software engineering, geology, historical preservation, ecological protection, to history and astronomy. Several Okanagan College instructors are also part of this fall’s lineup.

“Exceptional instructors choose the Penticton campus as home because of their passion for teaching and the opportunity to foster connections with students. Many professors are active in research infusing classroom lectures with innovation,” says Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen. “The Penticton campus has an active and inclusive learning environment, and the community is invited to fill the seats in pursuit of answers to today’s burning questions.”
The series includes:
  • Sept. 9 – The Arts: Elite Pursuit or Community Builder? by Rosemary Thomson from the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra
  • Sept. 16 – Formal Methods and Software Engineering for Deep Learning, by Dr. Youry Khmelevsky
  • Sept. 23 – Saying the Right Thing: What can the science of clinical counselling teach us about helping a friend through a difficult time? by Allan Clarke
  • Sept. 30 – Geology of the South Okanagan: A virtual field trip, by Dr. Todd Redding
  • Oct. 7 – Prospects for China-Taiwan Reunification, by Dr. Shao-Kang Chu
  • Oct. 21 – Reconnecting: Building Human Connection in a Technological Era, Part 2, by Stenya LeClair
  • Oct. 28 – What To Do When Old Meets The New? Historic Preservation the Italian Way, by Dr. Antonella De Michelis
  • Nov. 4 – screening of the film Artifishal: The Road to Extinction is Paved with Good Intentions
  • Nov. 18 – Franz Ferdinand and the Okanagan Connection, by Dr. Maurice Williams
  • Nov. 25 – Sockeye Salmon Reintroduction and Recovery in the Okanagan Basin, by Ryan Benson
  • Dec. 2 – The Spiral Structure of the Milky Way, by Dr. Trey V. Wenger

Talks are 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (PL 107) of the Ashnola Building. The Okanagan College Penticton campus is located at 583 Duncan Ave. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to support students in need.

Event information is available at https://ocspeakersseries.weebly.com/
.

 

Scotiabank investment in Non-Profit Centre of Excellence yields valuable online resources
Okanagan College Media Release

Scotiabank Centre NPE Aug 2019A partnership between Scotiabank and professors and students from Okanagan College’s School of Business has led to development of a series of free online courses that can help Canadian non-profit agencies with their professional development and training needs.

The Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence, launched and supported with funding from Scotiabank and developed by Okanagan College faculty and students, has an online portal of research and training resources that are available to non-profit organizations and their staff and volunteers.

“This is the conclusion of five years of work, conducted by students and led by faculty, that began with a gap analysis of the training and education needs of the non-profit sector,” explains Business Professor and Faculty Researcher Dr. Sheilagh Seaton. “In short, we began by ascertaining what would be most beneficial for non-profits to aid their quest for improvements. Then we developed curriculum, and now we have put the courses online.”

The launch of these research studies and learning resources was celebrated earlier this month at a launch that drew representatives of several non-profits to the College.

The training courses cover everything from fundraising to fraud, from project management to servant leadership.

Mike Greer, the Executive Director of Elevation Outdoors, was one of the people able to attend some of the early in-person training offered by the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence.

“Being able to hear from experienced professionals on wide range topics from strategic planning and project management to financial management, all at no cost and without having to travel out of town, is an amazing knowledge and capacity building opportunity for us and other non-profits in our community,” says Greer.

The development of courses and the research underpinning the curriculum also offered Okanagan College students a valuable work-integrated learning experience.

“It really helped me build some valuable personal skills,” says Carly Suddard. “It provided me a broader appreciation of the non-profit sector and all it entails, as well as the many viable career options.”

She worked on a project that focused on helping non-profits understand and implement impact reporting. It also proved a valuable networking experience. Through the project, she met the CEO of BrainTrust Canada, where she now works as marketing and events co-ordinator.

“Through our workshops and via client road testing we’ve ensured these online courses are addressing that skills gap that was the foundation of the program” explains Business Professor and Faculty Researcher Dr. Kyleen Myrah.

Scotiabank donated $200,000 in funding to support five years of the program, which offered several workshops for area non-profits.

“The value of that investment will be repaid many times over as non-profits can rely on the training resources that have been developed,” says Seaton. “I can’t give enough credit to Scotiabank, my fellow professors and the students involved. Their devotion to the Centre has produced something that should have national impact on the sustainability of the non-profit sector.”

And the appreciation is two-way:

“I found the work I did to be truly rewarding,” explains Maliki Suppin, one of the students involved with the project. “Applying the knowledge I have learned in the classroom to a tool that will help non-profit organizations has been a great way to gain hands-on experience. I was lucky enough to work with professors who guided me through this process. The experience I have gained during this project is invaluable and something I deeply appreciate.”

The nine courses are available online through www.okanagan.bc.ca/npc
. They are:
  • Collaboration and Collective Impact
  • Financial Management
  • Fraud
  • Impact Reporting
  • Project Management
  • Servant Leadership
  • Social Enterprise
  • Strategic Plan Implementation
  • Fundraising

 

Your next chapter Starts Here
Okanagan College Media Release

September marks the start of another school year at Okanagan College where over 2,000 students young and mature will begin a new chapter in their life.

Two years ago, that was Alli Macdonald, now an OC alumna who started her Bachelor of Science degree through the Associate of Science degree program.Alli Macdonald August 2019

“I was unsure of what program I wanted to go into until the end of Grade 12,” says Macdonald. “I decided I wanted to complete a degree in science, but I hadn’t taken any chemistry classes in high school and I soon realized I could not enroll in many of my first year classes without it.”

Okanagan College offers a supportive and nurturing environment for those who wish to advance their education, grow their professional development, find a new career path, or take upgrading courses through OC’s Adult Academic and Career Preparation program.

The tuition-free upgrading courses allow students to take high school classes they may not have taken or need a higher mark in. Luckily for Macdonald, she was able to take both Chemistry 11 and 12 while also taking some of her first year science courses.

“It was great because I didn’t feel like I had to take a year off to upgrade, I could do them both simultaneously,” adds Macdonald.

“I am planning on attending UBCO in order to complete my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in chemistry and plan to pursue a career in forensic science.”

According to the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer studies, 88 per cent of college students do better academically than their university counterparts by starting at a college and transferring to another institution to finish a degree.

“It’s so nice that I was able to begin my post-secondary education so close to home and the small class sizes really allowed for a sense of community within your program and the entire campus. I feel like it will make my transition to university much easier.”

Applications for fall 2020 and many winter 2021 programs open Oct. 1. There are still spaces in some programs that start this fall, and many programs offer January intakes.

The College recently launched a new tool to help students more easily explore programs starting soon at OC campuses. Would-be students can learn more at www.okanagan.bc.ca/starthere
.

 

Pedalling goodness: OC alumnus inspired to undertake cross-continent fundraiser
Okanagan College Media Release

Would you ride your bike across the continental United States?

Nick Pelletier August 2019For Okanagan College alumnus and triathlete Nick Pelletier, the answer is an instant yes.

This isn’t just any ride though. The 5,977-kilometre journey is a fundraising effort to help build a school in a developing country.

It all started at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus in the fall of 2018 where Pelletier was enrolled in a social entrepreneurship business class. Tasked with looking at case studies from the class text, he read the story of Adam Braun, founder of the non-profit organization Pencils of Promise. The gears started turning as he read about the forming of the non-profit and how Braun left a stable career to pursue his life’s calling.

“I knew there was a pretty powerful connection there,” says Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan School of Business professor. “But what I didn’t realize was the connection to the book and the cause for him.”

Growing up playing sports, the athletically-inclined Pelletier resonated with Braun, who had also led a childhood filled with athletic activities before turning his passion into a career at the age of 25. Pelletier grew up competing in baseball and football, but run-ins with concussions led him to lower impact sports, and subsequently his bike. Reading about Braun’s catalyst moment, Pelletier felt compelled to do something with his natural gifts.

The idea was there: if he could use his athletic talent for good, why not do it to raise funds for a cause? Pelletier reached out to Myrah early in the spring of 2019 as the idea of riding across the states took shape, and Myrah reciprocated support.

The concept for the ride is simple, but the task at hand is seemingly long and arduous. However, in the midst of training for the ITU World Triathlon Age Group Grand Final in Switzerland all summer, Pelletier sees it as the best kind of challenge and something to look forward to after the competition.

“This will be more about me getting out there and enjoying the ride,” he says.

Pelletier will soon return to Canada for a brief period of time before heading out again in early September to begin his journey.

The ride starts in San Francisco, California, and Pelletier aims to ride an average of 160 kilometres each day, ending in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. His end date is flexible, but finishing by the end of October is the ultimate goal. Riding unsupported with his gear in panniers, he plans to camp and stay at hostels and is open to couch surfing as well, trying to keep operational costs low.

“My family is also scattered throughout the states so if something happens I have help if I need it,” he says.

While the ride and all funds are going towards a new school overseas, the impact here at home is not lost, and is something Myrah hopes people will recognize as Nick rides from town to town.

“The importance of education is key here,” says Myrah. “The systemic issues of poverty, the underlying root cause often comes back to education. We can lift communities out of poverty and that’s a very powerful message.

“How privileged are people here that have access to education that we often take for granted?”

The cycle of learning comes full circle when Nick steps back into the classroom this November to speak to this year’s social entrepreneurship class. The ride will be over, but the possibility of inspiration is only just beginning.

“Someone came into my class and provided that point of connection,” he says. “It showed me someone who really cared and was living out a vision and it provided us with so much value and insight.”

Aiming to do the same as those before him, Pelletier hopes he can connect with current students in carrying the vision of Pencils of Promise forward, as they will have read the same textbook. There is also potential to tie in his own fundraising effort with initiatives that students may want to start.
 

Myrah adds that this is what the social entrepreneurship program is all about, the emergence and implementation of an idea, and in this case, from class to pavement.

“The whole idea is to see where this learning will take you in whatever form it is at some point. We want to become more active citizens and know our responsibility. Everyone has something to contribute, you just have to figure out what that is,” says Myrah.

“Maybe you can connect two people, or make somebody else aware of a need in our community, and often it’s our social connections that are just as valuable as what we donate financially.”

You can support Nick by spreading the word in person or over social media, and following his journey as he departs in early September. Visit his website at www.nickpelletier.ca
 or go directly to his fundraising page athttps://fundraise.pencilsofpromise.org/fundraiser/2089300. Live updates will be provided throughout the ride.

 

Atrophy selected for John Lent Poetry and Prose Award
Okanagan College Media Release

A nation-wide poetry competition has found a winner right here in the Okanagan.

Kalamalka Press, based out of Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, announced that Erin Scott’s manuscript, entitled
Atrophy, has been selected as the John Lent Poetry/Prose Award winner for 2019.Erin Scott August 2019

“There's a gorgeous weight to
Atrophy and at the same it's marked by such a sharp self-awareness – in this way all of its voices/sounds strike us as sweetly human,” says judges Jake Kennedy, an OC instructor, and Vernon-based novelist and poet Laisha Rosnau.

“The music of the manuscript is never forced or ironic — and the narrative of the poem itself has an undeniable urgency. We think this is beautiful work and we’re thrilled to select it for the John Lent Poetry and Prose Award.”

Atrophy
meditates on time and loss, while reflecting on the sacredness of landscapes. The judges also remarked that Scott’s work explores core themes found in the work of John Lent – the competition’s namesake and founding member of Kalamalka Press, who taught creative writing and literature courses at Okanagan College for 26 years.

Scott is a poet and performer living and working in the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx-Okanagan people in Kelowna. Her work has appeared in
Ricepaper Magazine, at InspiraTO Festival, Living Things Festival, and is forthcoming in subTerrain Magazine. She holds a Master in Fine Arts from UBC, works extensively in the community arts sector in the Okanagan, and is mother to two daughters.

 

The national competition drew dozens of entries from poets in the early stages of their writing careers. Ben Rawluk’s untitled manuscript was named first runner-up, and honourable mentions went to Dale Tracy’s
The Mystery of the Ornament and Jermy Stewart’s from East Beach.

Kalamalka Press supports Okanagan College’s Writing and Publishing Diploma program, providing students with practical, hands-on experience designing, setting and producing letterpress-printed chapbooks, broadsheets and posters.

Kalamalka Press has published books of poetry, fiction, and literary criticism, while, more recently, it has focused on letterpress-printed, hand-bound limited editions. Recent authors include Ariel Gordon, Nikki Sheppy, Lindsay Cahill and Angeline Schellenberg.

For information about Kalamalka Press, visit www.kalamalkapress.ca
. For information on Okanagan College’s Writing and Publishing Diploma program, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/writingpublishing.

 

OC student shares culture internationally
Okanagan College Media Release

Dawna Hearl August 2019It was Dawna Hearl’s first time out of B.C. and only the second time she had flown on an airplane when she landed in Okayama, Japan this summer.

Hearl, an Associate of Arts student from Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus spent two weeks in Japan as part of the summer intensive program offered through the College’s mobility grant.

During these two exciting and challenging weeks, Hearl attended courses, explored the city, discovered local culture and established networks with people from around the world.

“Going to Japan has been a lifelong dream of mine,” says Hearl. “It was such an incredible experience. I learned a lot about the Japanese culture and even a bit of their language. What made it so special to me though, was being able to share my culture with them as well.”

Hearl, a Malahat First Nation from the Cowichan Valley, wanted to take a piece of her culture with her to Japan to share with the new people she was about to meet. Adrian Lewis, one of the cultural interpreters at the Quaaout Lodge where she works, made her two handmade hand drums to take with her.

“Hand drums are sacred across all Nations and represent the heartbeat of Mother Earth,” says Hearl. “They are considered to still contain the spirit of the animal and the wood they are made out of and represent the center of everything.”

Hearl gave out the hand drums as gifts to her teachers in Japan on Aboriginal Day.

“It’s so special to me because they can continue to share my culture with others, even after I’ve left,” adds Hearl.

Three other OC students joined Hearl at Kibi International University, a private university located in the city of Takahashi. Rich in history and tradition, Takahashi is nestled on a sheltered hillside overlooking the Takahashi River and the Bicchu Matsuyama castle.

"Everything was so pretty,” says Hearl. “We were so busy fitting everything we could into the two weeks that we were there. They took us to art museums and we got to dress up in kimonos. We were so spoiled - there was always so much food.”

“It brings tears to my eyes speaking about it, and about Dawna and how much this trip changed her,” says Caroline Chartier, Aboriginal Planner at the Salmon Arm campus.

“She has so much depth to her, so much respect to her culture and wanting to continue to share it with people. Her personality is much larger than it was, she was very quiet when she first came here. She’s such a good student, one of the best, and has worked so hard to come out of her shell. This trip really added to that.”

OC students can enrich their education with numerous study abroad opportunities at one of the College’s 23 partner institutions in 16 countries around the world.

“It really was a trip of a lifetime,” says Hearl. “I’m so grateful to OC for the opportunity to do this.”

Hearl is one of more than 1,800 Aboriginal students who attend Okanagan College.

 

Diverse experience distills choice for beverage centre manager

Okanagan College Media Release

Wes PetersonWes Peterson knows he has a challenging task in front of him.

He has been hired as manager of the recently-announced British Columbia Beverage Technology Access Centre (BCBTAC), which is scheduled to open its doors for service in Penticton this fall.

“The plan for the BCBTAC has been well laid out,” says Peterson, who brings with him experience in owning and operating a successful and growing brewery in Seattle. “The challenge will be in bringing it to life as envisioned, acquiring and setting up the equipment, and developing the processes and policies that will guide the technology access centre.”

The BCBTAC, which will be headquartered in Penticton, is an Okanagan College initiative that is supported by five years of funding, totaling $1.75 million, from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. It is also supported by the College and by industry as well.

Peterson is the centre’s first employee. The BCBTAC’s mission is to provide technical, analytical and business services to small- and medium-sized distilleries, cideries, breweries and wineries, focusing first on the businesses in the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen region. It will draw on expertise resident at Okanagan College and elsewhere to help those businesses grow.

Peterson has significant executive experience, having worked with Expedia in Europe as a vice-president, and with Air Canada as Branch Financial Officer. Since 2011 he has co-owned Odin Brewing Company in Seattle. Peterson was educated as a Cytogenetics Technologist at BCIT, has a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from UBC, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Calgary in Finance and New Venture Development.

“Wes’ management experience with customer-focused enterprises, his background as a technologist, and his approach and leadership with a successful craft brewery in an intensely competitive environment commended him for this role,” explains Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education.

The BCBTAC is the second technology access centre in British Columbia. The other is in Victoria, at Camosun College. The network of technology access centres across Canada is funded by the federal government, and are focused on addressing the applied research and innovation needs of local companies.

When Okanagan College’s successful application for a TAC was announced in June, there were 19 craft cideries, 219 wineries, 16 craft distilleries and 24 craft breweries within the College’s catchment area, which stretches from Revelstoke to the U.S. border.

For more information on BCBTAC, visit www.bcbtac.ca.

Local Enactus initiative launches into third year
Okanagan College Media Release

Good things come in threes, and after two successful years, Okanagan College’s Enactus team is ready to launch Accelerate Youth into a third year of growth this fall.

Designed by Enactus students and led by third-year business administration student Jessica Egyed, the Accelerate Youth project teaches practical life skills in the areas of financial and nutritional literacy to students within the alternative school system. Piloted at the Westside Learning Centre in the fall of 2017, the program saw rapid growth after eager students jumped at the chance to learn new skills.Accelerate Youth Aug 2019

Receiving a $6,000 grant from the TELUS Thompson Okanagan Community Board in the fall of 2018 provided the Enactus team with the funds necessary to expand in their second year at two additional locations, Central School and the Rutland Learning Centre.

In response to enrolment jumping from 25 students in the pilot to 72 students across all three locations, the Accelerate Youth volunteer team also grew from four to 17 volunteers. Over the past year alone, they put in over 1,000 hours and facilitated 50 in-class sessions.

“The impact our team has been able to have in the lives of the students has been amazing and extremely rewarding,” says Egyed. “As the students realized what Accelerate Youth was teaching them was relevant to the challenges they face day to day, they really embraced the program.”

As the program grows, so does the curriculum, enhanced this past year to include a comprehensive budgeting project, career preparation, social responsibility and project management elements. A continued partnership with a local non-profit organization, Start Fresh, provides students with hands-on opportunities to enhance culinary knowledge and skills and a new partnership with CIBC sees representatives lend their expertise on everyday banking.

At Central School, the curriculum focused primarily on social responsibility and project management. Students learned the importance of how simple actions can have a lasting impact in their communities. Accelerate Youth’s team guided the students through the process of planning and executing an event to raise funds for a beneficiary of their choice. Their event, “Shout Out for Youth” raised a total of $790 for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs’ Youth Shelter. The shelter is a voluntary resource for youth ages 13-18 that are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have no safe alternatives. The connection between the Accelerate Youth program and shelter is also a personal one; several of the students participating have accessed the shelter in the past.

“When young people lead an initiative that benefits young people they set an example for all of us to follow,” says Sarah MacKinnon, Youth Housing Director of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. “It takes a village to house a child and we are thrilled that the students who participated in this project are part of our village.”

The Enactus team regularly competes in regional and national expositions, and recently earned a second place finish in the Youth Empowerment category at the Enactus Canada Regional Exposition for the impact of Accelerate Youth. These competitions provide opportunities for Enactus teams from across the country to showcase the impact of projects to panels of business professionals. The team hopes to continue building on their success as they anticipate more growth this fall

For more information on Accelerate Youth or Enactus Okanagan College, contact Enactus OC President, Jacob Pushor atpresident@enactusoc.ca

 

Students encouraged to take the leap as business program launches at College’s Revelstoke centre
Okanagan College Media Release

Carolyn Gibson July 2019_2Carolyn Gibson and her family moved west for the mountains, but it was the business landscape that connected her closely to the Revelstoke community.

The long-time Okanagan College instructor says there are plenty of prospects for budding entrepreneurs and business people looking for four-season opportunities in Revelstoke – and now couldn’t be a better time to take the leap.

The next generation of managers and entrepreneurs will learn the skills needed to succeed in business this fall, when the Tourism Management Diploma kicks off at the Revelstoke centre.

“Management studies are so valuable, because it creates an understanding of what a manager role involves, but also the importance of those small tasks and actions, the little things, that can impact the overall operation,” she says. “The tourism management piece is understanding that your actions impact somebody’s experience.”

Gibson’s family owns and operates Revy Outdoors and The Pines B&B. Those are her visible enterprises in addition to business consulting in the region as well as mentorship/coaching work for Startup Revelstoke.

“We’re not a resort town, we’re a mountain community,” she says. “My family is focused on tourism, but we have all these different industries here that make it a diverse community.”

“What’s amazing is that we have such support from a networking perspective, but also a philosophy where a lot of people in town want to support other local entrepreneurs. It’s a great place,” she says. “Through Startup Revelstoke, I am running into people with a range of ideas in different industries.”

Gibson has been a long-time Continuing Studies instructor, offering Leadership Essentials classes in the Shuswap for many years, in addition to offering advising services to Queen’s University on its Master of Business Administration program. This fall, she will be teaching a Computer Basics course, building critical skills for business students to navigate a tech-savvy world.

“Being able to take your idea and get it down on paper in a logical way that people can read and understand it is vital. Are you familiar with online templates to help you save time? Do you know how to use a PowerPoint to quickly tell potential investors what your business idea is about? You’re going to need to be able to track financials using Excel,” she says.

And while technology can provide solutions, she explains, it is still critical for students to understand the concept behind its use. “Google Forms are emerging and can be very useful. The templates are there, but how do you use them? Getting the most out of those forms and technology is so important.”

Students in TMD will cover a broad array of business topics like accounting, financial management, marketing and digital applications. The program also serves as a two-year diploma in business, which students can use to ladder into additional studies at Okanagan College for the Bachelor of Business Administration Degree.

There are a few spaces available in the program. For information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/tmd
 or call 250-832-2126, ext. 8259.